Hurricane Recovery Guide

from Augustyniak Insurance

Safety First

  • Listen to the local radio for up-to-date information. If you evacuated don’t return home until local authorities report that it’s safe.
  • Only drive if it’s absolutely necessary, and avoid flooded streets. Roads and bridges may be weakened or washed out. Wet roads can hide downed electrical lines or underlying currents.
  • Check for damage to gas, electric, and sewage systems when you are able to do so safely.
  • Don’t use damaged systems until professionals have checked them.
  • If gas is leaking, turn it off at the main shut-off valve, leave the building, and call a professional for service.
  • Watch out for broken glass and sharp objects, wet electrical systems, live wires, and even snakes or animals that may have taken refuge in your home.

Make Temporary Repairs

If your home or property has been damaged due to the hurricane, it is your responsibility to take action to prevent further damage.   If your home or business is damaged, please make emergency repairs to prevent further damage as soon you are able to do so safely. Take photographs. And, please save any receipts.  Keep damaged items so your insurance company can see them.

Save all receipts from your temporary repairs.

  • Temporary repairs include tarping your roof, boarding broken windows, removing trees from on top of your home.
  • Ventilate your home. Open windows and doors to help dry it out.
  • Cover broken windows and holes in the roof to prevent additional damage from rain.
  • Move wet items to drier ground.
  • Wash and dry whatever you can.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
  •  Do not make permanent repairs until you have spoken to your insurance adjuster.

If you’re not sure it’s safe, professionals can help, and you should hire a local contractor who specializes in this kind of work.

Be Cautious of repair scams & Assignment of Benefits Contracts

  • Resist the temptation to sign up with the first repair crew that shows up at your door. 
  • You especially should not sign paperwork or contract that includes an assignment of benefit.  Read carefully before you sign and when in doubt contact your adjuster first.
  • An  assignment of benefits assigns the rights and benefits of your policy to the contractor, and you may lose all control of your claim. This could cause you not to control the money paid by your insurance company.  There are situations where contractors are paid by the insurance company directly under an assignment of benefits, but the work was never done.
  • Reputable repair companies will not require you to sign a contract that includes an assignment of benefits.
  • Assignment of Benefits scams are the leading cause of rising insurance rates, and fraud artists see a hurricane aftermath as a golden opportunity to prey on unsuspecting homeowners. We recommend that you always call your agent, or your insurance company first to report damage and determine the best way to proceed.


    How to locate a Reputable Contractor

    If your house sustains damage and you need emergency board-ups or roof protection, we recommend calling your insurance company first.  Often, they have a program where they refer out approved emergency contractors. 

     If your insurance company does not offer this, our agency recommends the following resources:

    • Water damage/ flood dryout, Rytech  800-980-0112
    • Paul Davis Restoration  888-473-7669
    • ServPro   1800- SERVPRO
    • Service Master – uses local Franchises


    Report Your Claim

    You can report your claim one of two ways. Be ready to provide a general description of your damage.

    1. Contact your insurance company directly
    2. Call Augustyniak Insurance Group at 904-268-3106

    Document the Damage & & CONSIDER APPLYING FOR FEMA DISASTER ASSISTANCE

    Make a complete list of items that were damaged by the hurricane. This will help expedite the claims process. Document the damage with photos and videos.

    Don’t throw out damaged items, especially expensive items.

    FEMA has disaster assistance programs.  Consider applying for FEMA disaster assistance, or talking to them about the resources available. We particularly recommend this if your home flooded. Their phone number is 800-621-3362

    Schedule Repairs

    Most insurance companies require that you to wait until the damage to your property has been assessed by a claims representative before you begin making permanent repairs.

    However, you should schedule a contractor to make permanent repairs as soon as possible because contractors can be difficult to schedule after a storm. Be sure to hire a reputable contractor and NEVER sign a contract that includes an assignement of benefits clause.

    Review Your Insurance Policy

    Your insurance policy typically covers the cost to repair common hurricane damage—including damage to roofs, walls, and your belongings. A hurricane or wind/hail deductible will apply to your claim. Generally, hurricane deductibles in Florida range from 2% to 10% of the insured value of the home.  So, if your home is insured for $200,000 with a 2% hurricane deductible, your hurricane deductible is $4,000.

    If you can’t live in your home, your insurance company may pay additional living expenses, as noted in your policy, while the damage is assessed and your home is being repaired or rebuilt. If repairs take longer than the period of time covered in your policy, you may be eligible for additional assistance from federal emergency programs.

    Remember that most home and business insurance policies do not cover flood damage. If you purchased a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program or Private Flood, contact your agent to file a claim for flood-related damages or report the claim directly to your flood insurance company.

    Is your car damaged?  If you purchased comprehensive coverage ("comp), both hurricane damage and flooding to your car will be covered by your car insurance company. A comprehensive deductible will apply. Report this claim to your car insurance company.

    Understand Your Responsibilities

    Your insurance company will replace damaged items and materials with the same type and quality of materials you had before the hurricane. For example, if you had a fiberglass roof, they will pay to repair or replace damage with fiberglass materials, but they won’t pay to replace it with more expensive slate tile.

    If damage is extensive, people sometimes decide to take the opportunity to upgrade their property with better or more expensive materials.

    If you want to pay the additional expense to upgrade, you’re welcome to do so out of your personal budget.

    Any time you make improvements to your property, let us know to make sure you have enough insurance coverage, and to find out if you are eligible for new discounts as a result of your home improvements.